67 Of The Best Anime Shows Of All Time (No Ranking Order)

What defines the “best anime” of all time?

The most logical answer is based on ratings and reviews from sites like MAL (MyAnimeList).

The problem with that is: it’s limited to MAL’S audience. And some reviews aren’t what I’d consider “real” reviews.

It’s just childish complaints from anime fans.

Then you have anime polls that Japan runs, gathering no more than 10,000-100,000+ votes in total. A small number when you consider the 50-100+ millions of fans around the world.

Because of that, there’s no perfect way to settle these subjective debates.

With that said… Here’s my list of the greatest anime of all time!

Anime that I feel is the BEST and deserves all or more credit than they’re getting.

 

67 Best Anime Of All Time (In No Ranking Order):

 

1. Monster

Monster Anime Series

Monster does one thing well: express the “inner monster” within all of us.

All it takes is the wrong set of circumstances to trigger someone on a dark path. Awakening an evil we never thought ourselves capable of.

Few anime are this realistic or written this well, especially in 2023 and beyond.

 

2. Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden shines because of its heartfelt, emotional storytelling.

You don’t just feel empathy towards the main character, you also feel it for the support characters who show up along the way.

Violet Evergarden mixes beautiful scenes, amazing animation, and powerful stories all into one ball of greatness.

 

3. Clannad

Clannad After Story

Clannad season 1 was good, but it doesn’t even compare to the greatness of season 2. Though there is no season 2 without season 1’s greatness either.

Like Violet Evergarden, Clannad After Story is filled with pain and sadness, even in season 1. Both of which few anime have been able to portray so perfectly.

Clannad will always be a classic.

 

4. Jormungand

Jormungand Anime Characters

Jormungand is the only anime of its kind to portray the lives of arms dealers in such a way. The realism of the storytelling, experiences, and lifestyle led by arms dealers is on point.

This anime is a masterpiece for what it does and intends to do.

The charismatic main protagonist and the travelling to multiple countries aspect also makes it unique.

 

5. Madoka Magica

Madoka Magica came into the picture and said: “f*ck all this cliché magical girl bullsh*t, it’s time to switch things up”.

That’s what makes Madoka Magica so good. It destroys the cliches and invites you to a world of pain, sadness, and the more depressing side of being a magical girl which comes at a cost.

Instead of following the typical route, it broke convention and turned the genre into something dark and disturbing.

 

6. Black Lagoon

Black Lagoon Anime

Like Jormungand, Black Lagoon is one of the grittiest anime on the planet.

Each character has a troubled past associated with r*pe, sexual abuse, drugs, crime, and everything the underworld represents.

Black Lagoon does it best in this department. The action speaks for itself with scenes including Revy Rebecca, Roberta, and so much more like the two evil twins which is tragic.

 

7. Psycho Pass

Psycho Pass Anime

Psycho Pass explores sci-fi from the perspectives of police officers and the law. And let’s not forget about the technology that’s so ahead of its time in this anime series.

There are few police series as it is in the anime world, and Psycho Pass makes it interesting to watch without the cliches.

Calling Psycho Pass “original” is an understatement. There’s no comparison for what it does.

 

8. The Eminence In Shadow

The Eminence In Shadow is an Isekai series I never thought I’d enjoy so much, but here we are.

It’s a refreshing Isekai series out of so many that are just decent, mediocre, and hardly great in high numbers. But the non-serious nature of this series, the puns, the insulting of cliches, the writing, and the humour are almost perfect.

 

9. Akame Ga Kill

Akame Ga Kill Characters Anime

Akame Ga Kill is what happens when citizens in a country rebel against a fraudulent, unethical government and society.

This is what Akame Ga Kill is about, and it makes its point clear through brutality, intense action, and some of the best fight scenes an anime has to offer.

It’s a little unconventional too in the way it handles the main characters (and their deaths). It’s so realistic that it hurts.

 

10. Shiki

Shiki Anime

Shiki starts off slow, but ends up becoming something so dark, disturbing and morally challenging, that you won’t know what to think.

It’s this one element that I love most about Shiki. One of the best horrors of all time.

It deserves more shout-outs than it gets.

 

11. Hinamatsuri

Hinamatsuri Anime

On one hand, Hinamatsuri will make you burst out laughing with its ridiculous comedy.

On the other hand, the anime will bring you close to crying and weeping.

Out of all the anime I’ve watched, so few can manage to express comedy and “sadness” so well without effing up the other.

That’s what makes Hinamatsuri special for me.

 

12. Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

Miss Kobayashis Dragon Maid

Dragons living alongside humans isn’t creative in itself. But the way the anime executes this concept and turns it into hilarious comedy, along with “slice of life” elements is interesting.

And it looks good doing it.

The fight and action scenes blow regular Shounen out of the water, proving Kyoto Animation could create full-blown action anime shows if they wanted.

 

13. Orange

Orange Anime

This is one of the few anime to tackle tough concepts like depression and suicide.

For this reason alone, and for how it’s portrayed from start to finish is too emotional to ignore.

I appreciate the unique animation too.

 

14. Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z 1

DBZ is a classic. It’s the reason the anime industry even exists on a global scale.

There’s nothing else to say.

It got me into anime in the first place.

 

15. Bleach

Bleach Anime

Bleach is basically DBZ without the OP characters or travelling to different planets, Aliens, etc.

Say what you want about Bleach, but no anime can ever replace it for what it does.

Related: The GREATEST Anime Quotes From Bleach That Stand The Test Of Time

 

16. Magi: Labyrinth Of Magic

Magi is such an underrated franchise in the anime industry, and this is even true for the manga for those who are into manga.

It’s about Aladdin, a magi, a special type of kid who’s overflowing with magic but he has a good heart so he uses it for the right reasons.

Then you have Alibaba, the blonde guy, who has his own hardships in spite of the fact he has “royalty” in his bloodline. In fact, he’s one of the most relatable characters.

Then there’s Morgiana, the girl with maroon hair which is a signature colour for her race called Fanalis. Her race and where she lives is based on African culture.

Once an ex-slave, she now lives her life fighting for those who are being oppressed, and all 3 make this anime a stand-out show in desperate need of a 3rd season.

 

17. My Bride Is A Mermaid

My Bride Is A Mermaid

Underrated anime series that doesn’t get much love or recognition.

For its time the comedy (and parody) is some of the most well-done I’ve ever come across.

It’s an original comedy in its own right. I’ve rewatched My Bride Is A Mermaid as well.

 

18. Fairy Tail

Fairy Tail has the best adventures an anime could offer. Comparable to shows like DBZ.

Never have I seen so many characters that are memorable and worthwhile at the same time.

It’s basically my favourite Shounen series of the 21st century.

 

19. The Disastrous Life Of Saiki K

The Disastrous Life Of Saiki K

Saiki K is one of the funniest, most creative comedies of recent years. And it does it all without fan service,

Ecchi, forced cliches, or other elements that can get in the way of a good comedy.

I love how it insults typical tropes, without actually stepping into that territory.

 

20. Re Zero: Starting Life In Another World

Subaru And Emilia 1

Another anime that insults typical tropes, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. While still focusing on the Isekai elements.

And the deep, dark, psychological aspects of Re Zero make it an anime that will make you think.

It’s brutal, horrific, but rewarding and great at telling a story.

 

21. Higurashi: When They Cry

Higurashi is like one big science experiment. It’s almost impossible to know what will happen next, and how things will turn out.

For a horror series, it’s unpredictable, clever, and one of the most thought-provoking.

It’s no wonder this is one of the biggest horror anime to this very day.

 

22. Cells At Work

Cells At Work is one of those anime that look boring and dull on the surface because it’s about science, biology, etc, but ends up being one of the most entertaining shows of the 2010s decade.

The anime creatively showcases and presents scientific facts about the body, blood cells, oxygen, platelets, viruses, and more, and it does it so well it should be included as part of the school curriculum (science classes).

Its Shounen style of writing helps you get invested in its characters, despite those characters only being blood cells and organisms in the body, which is part of the reason is so hilarious but serious at the same time.

 

23. Happy Sugar Life

Happy Sugar Life paints itself as a cute, kawaii, wholesome, and fun anime series. Its main female character has pink hair, and pink eyes, is always seen being cheerful, and has a happy tone.

Underneath the layers is a yandere girl who takes in a child who’s found on the streets, houses her, and falls in love with this child which is why this anime has a disturbing nature.

Satou Matsuzaka, the female MC, also has a disturbed backstory that ties it all in, and the ending is wrapped up perfectly so there’s no need for a 2nd season.

 

24. My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia Characters

My Hero Academia is one of the greatest anime of the 21st century. The Shounen genre needed something fresh, and MHA is the answer to that need.

And with each season the intensity increases. Season 5 was the biggest letdown in some cases, but season 6 turned the heat up to unbearable levels and made MHA solidified more than it ever was.

 

25. Shakugan No Shana

Shakugan No Shana is a large universe filled with Denizens, Flame Haze and humans who are caught in the middle.

It has a nice mix of supernatural elements (without going over the top), decent animation and interesting characters with interesting abilities. Especially for a series released in the 2000s.

Each season is different, gets progressively better, and it’s a classic overall in my eyes.

It’s also responsible for making the Tsundere trope popular with one of its 4 Tsundere wonders.

 

26. Claymore

Claymore is a series full of female warriors who fight demons and protect the human race. Claymores themselves are female characters who are half demon, half human, which is why they’re capable and strong.

Working for a shady organization, they’re forced to protect humans for unknown reasons, and their lot in life is depressing.

Even their physical bodies are violated once they become claymores, so the idea of dating, sexual relationships, or anything of the sort is out of the question.

It’s almost a masterpiece of a series.

 

27. Full Metal Panic!

Full Metal Panic Characters

Full Metal Panic takes high school romance and adds terrorism, action, and realism to the mix.

This is one of those rare anime that gets even better with each season that’s produced.

With all the light novel content available, it’s expected for the anime to continue for a long time.

 

28. Akiba Maid War

Akiba Maid War is a series released back in 2021, and an anime that follows maids who are at war with each other, despite it not looking that way on the surface.

A girl called Nagomi becomes a maid thinking it’s a positive business, only to get wrapped up in the violence and territory disputes between maid cafes.

From start to finish, this anime will surprise, entertain, and make you feel all kinds of emotions.

 

29. Fate Zero

Fate Zero Anime

When it comes to anime with historical elements, Fate Zero dominates. Especially for its insane levels of action, precision and entertainment.

I wouldn’t put any other Fate series about Fate Zero, but it’s too much of a quality series that KNOWS how to shine in the action genre.

 

30. School Live (Gakkou Gurashi)

School Live Anime

School Live looks cute, but in reality, it’s one of the deepest shows on this list. Tackling themes like mental illness, psychosis, hallucination and similar topics.

Like Madoka Magica, the anime tricks you into thinking it’s a fun series until it’s too late to turn back.

Still, what you get out of the series watching it is more than just satisfying (needs a new season).

Read: The Most Dark Anime Series That Will Shock You

 

31. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Gurren Lagann is just a hype series. And when I say hype – I mean it’s energetic, ridiculous, motivational and gets you pumped up.

I can see where shows like Kill La Kill took their inspiration from.

Gurren Lagann will always be a classic in my eyes.

 

32. Dark Gathering

Dark Gathering is a 2023 anime series in the horror genre.

You have a kid called Yayoi who’s been traumatized and uses that trauma to target evil spirits with the goal of collecting many of them to destroy the “big boss” who killed her parents.

Then you have Keitaro, a guy who’s an introvert like Yayoi and has an infinity for ghosts and spirits and can even sense them from far away. He was cursed years prior (his hand).

Then there’s Eiko, the girl whose hand is cursed like Keitaro, and they grew up together. She’s also a Yandere.

The writing of this horror/mystery is sharp and is an underrated 2023 anime series.

 

33. Hyouka

Hyouka Anime Characters

Hyouka is a thought Provoking anime series, focused on nothing more than:

  • Working together to solve puzzles.
  • Asking questions.
  • And “playing detective”.

On the surface, it doesn’t sound world-class, but how it’s implemented is another story.

 

34. If It’s For My Daughter

If It’s For My Daughter was released in 2019. And I went into it with no expectations.

The first episode starts out with Dale who finds a demon child in the forest, whose family’s been killed off.

He adopts this girl and names her “Latina”, and that’s where the anime’s title stems from.

It’s a relaxed slice of life with a lot of warm episodes where the main characters bond and their relationship continues to grow.

The plot is nothing special, and it’s not the most flashy anime so it won’t interest anyone who’s more into Shounen. But for what it delivers – If It’s For My Daughter is as heartwarming as it gets.

 

35. Kino’s Travels: The Beautiful World

Kinos Travels The Beautiful World

Kino’s Travels: The Beautiful World is an anime series that does one thing extremely well: tell stories.

Kino travels the world on her motorbike, staying no more than 3 days in each country.

Under the surface, this anime reveals deep insights about humans and how we live, on top of the mindsets and psychology that go behind the diverse cultures we live in.

Easily one of the greatest anime of all time.

 

36. Kokoro Connect

Kokoro Connect isn’t classed as a “psychological” series, but for how it’s portrayed It definitely is.

Slice of life and romance aside, this anime will make you think like no other show of its kind. About things like what your so-called “real” friends think about you when talking behind your back.

Or what they “think” about you in general.

Related: A List Of 30 Psychological Anime You NEED to Consider

 

37. Death Note

After watching Death Note this year (2019) I can see why this anime is recommended by so many people.

I tend to avoid hyped-up shows, but the brilliance of the plot, characters and psychological aspects is flawless.

I give Death Note a 10/10. It’s one of the best anime of all time.

 

38. Shirobako

Shirobako is an anime ALL fans need to see.

It’s about the anime industry with a realistic take on what happens behind the scenes.

The stressful workload, animators, studios and employees being overworked. The schedules, how an anime is made, directed, and created…

You won’t find a single detail missing from the process of what goes into an anime in Japan.

Definitely one of the best anime of the 2010’s.

 

39. Sakura Quest

Sakura Quest is an underrated slice of life series. Made back in 2017 If I’m not mistaken.

It’s a good mix of tourism, business, lighthearted comedy and a meaningful story that runs from start to finish.

This list wouldn’t be right without it!

 

40. Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple

Kenichi The Mightiest Disciple

Kenichi takes it upon himself to train in martial arts, giving him the power to defend himself and reclaim his self-confidence.

In a world where bullying happens every day, this anime is inspirational. Especially for teenagers.

The main theme of this anime is untouchable and incomparable to the modern shounen.

 

41. Guardian Of The Sacred Spirit

Guardian Of The Sacred Spirit

I love anime with a feeling of “history” attached to it.

Guardian Of The Sacred Spirit is about an abandoned prince and his female bodyguard. They develop an emotional bond similar to a mother-and-son relationship.

Production I.G. outdid themselves again (they made Psycho Pass).

 

42. Ascendance Of A Bookworm

Ascendance Of A Bookworm is an Isekai series without the fan service, the cliches, the nonsense, and the usual ideas that ruin so many anime shows.

It’s refreshing in its approach.

The female character Myne dies after books collapse on her in a library, killing her in the process hilariously. After rebirth, she’s now in the body of a weak child with latent powers.

Her desire to read books which she’s passionate about is what drives her to make money in this new world and invent products to make money from. But the plot takes the journey elsewhere to shake things up (in a way that’s rewarding).

 

43. A Certain Scientific Railgun

A Certain Scientific Railgun Anime

Source: Mikoto Misaka

Railgun, similar to Hinamatsuri, focuses on two things simultaneously.

  • Slice of life episodes.
  • Action.

The action is sick, and the slice of life episodes are chilled.

And while we’re on the topic: Railgun is a MUCH better anime than Magical Index.

 

44. Shadows House

Shadows House started during the pandemic and now has 2 seasons with a likely 3rd season sometime in the future.

Emilico is one of the many “dolls” of this big ass house, more like a mansion. And she’s made to serve the shadows who are nobles, each with different ranks.

Her shadow is called Kate and each shadow is identical to the “doll” they have.

Shadows House is a 10x better version of The Promised Neverland, it’s what that anime tried to be but never could.

 

45. Code Geass

Code Geass Lelouch Of The Rebellion

Code Geass is my #1 Mecha/action anime series, ever.

The clever plots, the strategic characters, the ruthlessness of Lelouch… There’s too much to name here in terms of why Code Geass is so brilliant.

But one thing that stands out is the “chess-like” strategy elements.

Lelouch thinks 5 steps ahead and will do whatever it takes to mitigate any problems that come up in battle.

There are also some similarities between Lelouch Lamperouge and Light Yagami from Death Note!

 

46. Assassination Classroom

Assassination Classroom Characters

Another fresh series in the “school” genre of anime.

Comparing this to your modern-day school anime is insulting. Because it’s so unique in its approach and the main character: Koro Sensei is written better than most of your typical characters these days.

The plot itself is original and nothing like anything you can try comparing it to.

 

47. Samurai Champloo

Samurai Champloo

The one thing I respect most about Samurai Champloo is how it blends Samurai culture with the vibes of Hip Hop.

I can’t think of any anime that does this. And the 3 main characters are so different to each other, that it makes each one of them easy to remember.

Samurai Champloo is an absolute classic.

 

48. Talentless Nana

Talentless Nana is a severely underrated anime in the psychological genre and one with lots of mystery that keeps you curious as each episode passes by.

On a remote Island, there are kids who are being trained to protect the world against “the enemies of humanity”. These kids have supernatural abilities.

Nana Hiiragi is assumed to be a telepath, but this is a disguise. Her role is that of a villain playing the hero.

 

49. Skip Beat!

Skip Beat is a hidden diamond most people don’t see the shine of. After all – it has a fanbase, but it’s not mainstream.

It’s about a girl who gets revenge on her ex-boyfriend who used her hard work, money, and naïvety to succeed in his acting career. Only to ditch her like she ain’t sh*t.

I relate to the motivation of revenge. But the quality this anime brings because of this motive blew me away.

They don’t make romance shows like THIS anymore.

 

50. Charlotte

Charlotte is just a unique series. It takes the usual concept of superpowers and flips it on its head.

Instead of each character having limitless power, there are limits to what they can do. And even downsides to using their abilities, making it more realistic and simpler than comparable shows.

Related: Why Charlotte Is A Distinctive Anime Series

 

51. Little Witch Academia

Little Witch Academia Characters 1

If I ever got the chance to be a “kid” again, this is the anime I’d watch.

  • No fan service.
  • No “attempted” fan service.
  • No perverted BS.
  • No Ecchi.

Basically: all the clichés you can find in a similar series don’t exist in LWA.

Studio Trigger outdid themselves, and the anime deserves more recognition than it’s gotten so far.

 

52. Slayers

Slayers Anime

There’s nothing like old-school 90’s anime.

Slayers walked its own path, and inspired the “strong female” character tropes you see in modern-day shows.

I call it the old-school version of Fairy Tail (without the fan service). It’s a good alternative for DBZ fans.

 

53. Inuyasha

Inuyasha Anime

Another old-school series I couldn’t help adding to this list. Some of the old-school drawings and designs are my favourites to this day.

I don’t talk about Inuyasha a lot, but it’s still a favourite regardless.

It’s original for its time, and Isekai wouldn’t be the same without Inuyasha.

 

54. K-On

K-On is the king and queen of “Moe” as we know it. But that’s not what makes the anime worth mentioning.

K-on is a popular series that has no real plot but has enough entertaining characters and episodes to make it worthwhile.

The comedy is some of the best I’ve seen in an anime series, and I wouldn’t even consider K-On a “strict” comedy.

 

55. Soul Eater

Soul Eater is so underrated in the Shounen genre. The amount of times this show never pops up in conversation is surprising. Because the anime itself is what I’d call “mainstream” for its success.

It’s a prime example of what a “great” Shounen series looks like with a female (and male) protagonist. And support characters with male + female roles.

 

56. Golden Kamuy

Golden Kamuy is a rare series for its historical nature. Few anime go as deep into their history as Golden Kamuy, which highlights an old Japanese race called: Ainu.

And the fact that Golden Kamuy is entertaining without being too educational makes it fun and enjoyable to watch.

Read: 12 Of The Greatest Anime About Japanese Culture

 

57. A Place Further Than The Universe

A Place Further Than The Universe had me so curious I watched it in the original version. And I’m blown away by the quality.

It’s one of the most refreshing adventure series to have released back in 2018.

Calling it “inspirational” is an understatement.

 

58. Yona Of The Dawn

Yona Of The Dawn is an anime I’ve always wanted to watch. I’m glad I did.

Somehow Yona Of The Dawn is an adventure, supernatural series with comedy so fresh (and silly) that it’s surprising. Especially on top of all the action, occasional romance and battle scenes from time to time.

Now it needs a season 2!

 

59. Kill La Kill

It’s impossible how an Ecchi series can be so action-packed with a story written so well.

And that’s why Kill La Kill crushed my poor expectations and grabbed my interest.

Studio Trigger outdid themselves with this one. It’ll always be one of my top anime of all time.

 

60. Nana

I never thought “Shoujo” anime could be so entertaining. And that’s where I was wrong.

After running into an anime like Nana, produced by Madhouse, I can’t believe how realistic and powerful this romance series is.

The designs are “true to life”, and the characters are relatable in so many aspects.

Few romances come close to this for its realism.

Related: The Ultimate List Of Slice Of Life Anime

 

61. Aria The Animation

The best way to describe this anime is: gentle, easy-going and so relaxing it’s like chilling at the beach.

It’s lightweight on comedy, but the subtle life lessons and warm-hearted main character makes this a slice of life series no fan should ever miss.

 

62. Shimoneta

This is another Ecchi series that destroyed my low expectations. And replaced it with satisfaction.

Shimoneta is a hard pill to swallow for most fans, because of how extreme it is for its beliefs, plot, language and purpose. But if you can stomach it, you’ll be surprised at the depth and even comedy this anime has to offer.

It almost feels like it was created to make fun of Western culture as far as SJW’s (which the anime actually has), cancel culture, political correctness, and so on.

 

63. Minami-Ke

Minami-Ke is an underrated, forgotten slice of life and comedy series. It’s about 3 sisters who live in the same household, and all the shenanigans they get up to.

With 3 seasons in total and cliches that are actually funny, I never got through an episode without laughing.

I’d rate it a 10/10 without hesitating.

 

64. Land Of The Lustrous

YouTube video

Land Of The Lustrous is an anime that makes CGI look better than ever. And if you’ve watched a lot of anime, you’ll know how terrible CGI is in general.

Land Of The Lustrous takes it to another level for its quality of animation. I’d say it’s even better than Violet Evergarden in its own way.

The story itself is mysterious but interesting enough to carry you through till the end without feeling like you’ve wasted your time.

It’s a great series with memorable characters.

 

65. Plastic Memories

Plastic Memories is one of the most emotional romance anime series of all time. In fact, it’s one of the most emotional pieces of fiction or entertainment there is.

Isla is the anime’s main character who is a human-like machine. She works with Tsukasa (both are on the right side of the image above).

Prepare to feel mixed emotions and sadness the closer you get towards the end.

 

66. Sket Dance

Sket Dance is another underrated comedy/slice of life series. And one with more depth, meaning, purpose, and quality writing than the average comedy can claim today in 2023 and beyond.

It’s like a different facet of Gintama without the dramatics.

It’s about a group called Sket Dance that’s formed while in school (characters ages 16-19+, etc). Its goal is to help out anyone in need, so many people in school come to them for help for the sillest things, to more serious matters like romance or love.

The anime is much more than this, though. It gets deep and it has over 70+ episodes.

 

67. Inari Kon Kon Kanari

And lastly – Inari Kon Kon Konari. This Seinen/slice of life + romance series surprised me.

It’s a lot more serious and mature than it looks on the surface, and the display of emotions, scenes, and how it’s written is bound to hit you in the feels by the end of the show.

Body switching, Shrines, goddesses, a somewhat wholesome sibling relationship, and some drama are what you can expect in this series.

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